Monday, December 12, 2016

This week's C&EN

There was a double issue of C&EN last week, so no issue this week. Doesn't mean the news stops, though:

7 comments:

  1. Heh: "China tightens its grip on hazardous chemicals (before executing the Chair of Ruihai Logistics)" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Tianjin_explosions

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    1. So far as I understand, the People's Republic has used the death penalty for the ultimate punishment for a variety of business wrongdoing -- and it keeps happening. Seems to me that 枪毙 (characters for execution by firing squad) doesn't have the intended deterrent effect.

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    2. No deterrent is 100% effective. Piracy still occurred after Julius Caesar crucified the pirates that held him for ransom, but perhaps to a lesser extent.

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    3. Yeah, it's not having the deterrent effect they though it would. Maybe they did the risk analysis on it: There's a high consequence (death) but a low, almost nil, probably of occurrence (i.e getting caught) making the overall risk acceptable with respect to the outcome of living like a king in a communist country, especially if you're a party member in good standing.

      But "good standing" is pretty mercurial: Getting on the 6PM news for flattening half a port would put you on the naughty list pretty quickly.

      What I don't get is the "2-year reprieve" thing. I fundamentally understand "why" the time to execution in the US is so long given our defense-centric justice system. But I don't think it's the same in China.

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    4. I don't have enough time to look it up today, but I believe this is common. It's a "go get your affairs in order" sort of thing; perhaps I am wrong.

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    5. The death penalty hasn't worked well enough in the US for its benefits to be undeniable here, but 1) it might do something better than its absence (probably not, but it's possible) and 2) people still want it, anyway. The death penalty in China might fit someone's narrative of justice (as here, I think), or it might be a reminder that people's lives are at the mercy of the state, and that they should behave accordingly. It may not have to have a rational benefit, since no one's in a position to demand such of it.

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  2. Tbh if they had executed some folks after the 2008 financial crisis--let alone held anyone criminally liable--might have had a little more honesty in the market. Whether this would have had an effect on the last election, who knows?

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